Emerging Multichannel Retail Trends – How to make Most with Integrated Business Management Solutions…

In today’s business world, multichannel retail is becoming the norm. More businesses are branching out into e-Integrated retailcommerce or other marketing channels as additions to traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ physical retail locations. That means that new enterprise resource planning or ERP systems are even more important for many of today’s local business operations. Increasingly, it’s not enough just to have a single spreadsheet or data entry system to keep tabs on inventory, customers, products and more. Businesses require a seamlessly integrated Business Management system  to keep business leaders informed and to help them chart a path for future operations and growth.

Integrated Business Management Systems for Multichannel Retail
Comprehensive Business Management systems bring a lot to the table: from the point of service to the “back of the store,” these tools help business owners to get a good idea of what’s going on by offering a bird’s eye view of daily and long-term operations. That means combining different individual tools or suites into a cross channel solution, where sharing data is ultimately important, not just for a manufacturing business, but in retail as well.

POS: Using Multichannel Retail to Monitor Customer Activity
Using a vibrant, intuitive & full featured POS system engages customers. It gets them involved, while taking information about their purchases and history that business leaders can draw on later for additional outreach. This is true whether you’re selling products or services. You want a point of service system that offers customers the ability to get information, and offers the business identifiers for analyzing the customer base. POS data is a two way street, and the setup needs to be appealing to those who access your business on a regular basis.

Loyalty Systems for Multichannel Retail
Another key component of comprehensive Business Management system is the loyalty infrastructure that you use for your return customers. Another modern business principle is that those who continue to patronize your retail locations should benefit from their long-term involvement. For some businesses, this means issuing “store cards” or other coupon strategies. For others, long-term customers also get more information about new changes and new offers. Either way, having a loyalty system as a component of your Integrated Business Management multichannel retail setup will make this part of customer retention more efficient and less labor-intensive.

Multichannel Retail Setups: Multiple Marketing Channels
As mentioned, more physical retail businesses are branching out into the world of online sales. This means they need well-designed e-commerce systems such as shopping carts, new methods of merchant credit card processing, and more. Security is also a major concern for many businesses with an electronic footprint. Look at how available ERP products can seamlessly integrate with your Retail application, to manage your local shop as well as your vendor platform over the World Wide Web.

New Innovations in Retail
New Business Management system tools are offering business leaders much more than what yesterday’s entrepreneurs had in their toolboxes to help them judge the effectiveness of various business strategies, and to handle in-house initiatives with precision. From business intelligence software tools to supply chain management suites-the best modern back end solutions that come inbuilt with integrated management solutions, find out what your business needs and add this kind of capability to your software architecture. Look at what’s available from your Business management Solution vendor and consider how upgrading to a “broad-spectrum” multichannel retail system could propel your business forward in this and future years.

How To Increase Retail Profits With An Ecommerce Platform

If you currently operate a physical retail operation, there are basically only two ways to increase the profitability of your retail operation
  1. Improve the efficiency of your present physical store
  2. Add another distribution channel which could be either an additional physical store or an on-line ecommerce operation.

Theoretically, adding another physical store could approach doubling your profits, assuming that your new operation can be essentially a clone of your existing operation. You could approach doubling your profit because while all facilities and processes could be duplicated, the most essential ingredient, YOU, is limited to one. Additionally, you will be required to add at least one additional manager, further reducing the profitability gain of the new operation. And, the investment will equal your original investment in your physical store. On the plus side, you may make small gains on the basis of economy of scale; and, if logistically feasible, your inventory might be less than doubled. Also, some back room operations, accounting, payroll, billings, etc could be integrated.

But, today, with the availability of innovative retail management software, establishing an ecommerce operation to work in tandem with your physical store is a far more effective way to increase sales volume with multiple increases in profit. With implementation of an integrated retail management software, your sales volume could be triples or more using far less in resources than adding a second physical store.

What are the essential features of an integrated retail management software?

  1. It seamlessly integrates the offline and online operations. Make Promotions, items, pricing, customers, vendors etc in either systems and let the software sync all systems for you.
  2. Your inventory is maintained and serviced through a common data base. Physically, inventory is located within the offline operation with product and inventory data being readily available to the online store. In turn, the online sales orders are directed to the physical store for fulfillment.
  3. The integrated data base tracks online and offline sales for each of your customers enabling you to concentrate additional marketing and sales effort where it is likely to be most profitable.
  4. All performance data for the combined operations is presented in an integrated fashion with breakout of the two entities available on demand.
  5. You retail management software will include a loyalty system to encourage enhanced customer engagement
  6. Be able to provide product info and purchase ability through mobile devices, including providing supplementary product info in your physical store.
  7. Your retail management software system must be scalable. To run your back-end accounting processes, you may start with an SME ERP like SAP Business One as back-end for small store chains but you should be able to migrate to larger systems like SAP All-in-one (SAP Retail) without changing your retail systems.
  8. The provider of your retail management software must be provably skilled in installation and maintenance; and must be able and available to service the system on demand.

Operational advantages of adding an ecommerce channel to your existing physical store with integrated software are: .

  1. Ecommerce PlatformIt enables, YOU, the manager to more closely control the combined operation as compared to either two physical stores, or an off-line and on-line operation that are not integrated or synchronized.
  2. The ecommerce channel adds a communication channel to your link with existing offline customers. It will be easier to make additional sales to these existing customers simply because you can reach them online with additional offerings. Customers can use Loyalty points either in physical or online store.
  3. Retail management software provides opportunities to sell-up, sell-more, and sell-more-often. Planning engine can tell you what sells where and how you can increase sales via which mode.
  4. A retail management software system reduces cost of sales by increasing sales without a commensurate increase in overhead. Able to offer physical store pick-up for local customers.
  5. Your retail management software system enables you to duplicate work. A promotion can be made for physical store but should be easily be sent to online store as well.

To get additional specific information on how an integrated retail management software with Webstore will improve your profitability, read more about Ecommerce Platform for iVend or contact your local CitiXsys partner today.